Earlier this week I discussed the persistent discussion at the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee of conventions and primaries. This Saturday, June 24th will see far more than a vote on nomination method.
For those, like myself, elected by active grassroots delegates to SCC last Spring this meeting will be the fifth meeting, and the first after a full year of being elected.
There are three items on the agenda that are likely to amount to very little enforceable benefit to the grassroots.
Fixing the delegate selection process
At the 2016 state convention we selected at-large delegates to our national convention. The process involved selection of a slate by a thirteen person nominations committee for submission to the convention body. At the time of the state convention there was still a possibility of a brokered RNC convention, and a slate was selected largely reflecting the proportions of delegates attending the convention. Notably, Corey Stewart, still heavily involved in the Trump Campaign and one of his earliest supporters was left off the slate. Had the slate failed, an alternate slate could have been proposed from the floor but everyone involved appears to believe that the Pro-Trump delegates did not have sufficient votes to carry a slate, so a unanimous Pro-Cruz slate would have been the likely outcome if the nominations committee slate was voted down.
This wouldn’t have happened if we allowed direct election of national delegates. I was the first to speak out publicly about this while campaigning. There were many people who echoed my sentiment publicly, including The Bull Elephant’s Steve Albertson.
In the Summer of 2016 Sandy Liddy Bourne proposed a party plan amendment to allow direct election of delegates. At the August meeting it was submitted to the Party Plan Committee for review. At the December meeting it was announced that the Party Plan Committee reported it out with no changes and a recommendation not to pass it. The amendment probably would not have even met the 50% threshold that day. With Member Bourne’s permission I moved to have it resubmitted, and that motion passed. I worked with Member Bourne and the Party Plan Committee over the next few months to craft alternatives which were presented to the SCC a few days before our March 4th meeting.
At the March 4th meeting there was insufficient support to pass any of the alternatives, in part due to the timing. The proposals were withdrawn and an ad hoc committee was formed to look at the issue and report back at the June meeting.
That ad hoc Committee determined that we are unique and further study is needed. Here we are in June of 2017, over 12 months after the April 2016 Convention, and the State Central Committee has never even had an up or down vote on fixing the problem.
It appears there still is insufficient support for an amendment so what are we to do? How about create another committee to just look at the issue and report back in December 2017!
Communications and Best Practices
Many of us newcomers to SCC campaigned on the issue of transparency. Transparency means the grassroots know the party is acting as an honest broker in nomination fights, is advocating for our nominees, and is treating party members with respect. This respect means more grassroots support, direct involvement, and leadership down the line. Besides, it is just the right thing to do. Because of this, transparency crosses ideological lines.
Kyle McDaniel, SCC member from the 11th proposed a transparency committee in August 2016. Although its name was changed before being approved, its primary role was to look at how best for RPV to communicate with Unit Committees and the grassroots.
SCC conducts executive sessions at every meeting to discuss finances and campaign strategy. Since coming on SCC I have voted against executive session at every meeting as the finances are largely public information and campaign strategy is largely driven by candidates. A minority of SCC sides with me at each meeting but we are always soundly defeated. To give a comparison, my District Committee discusses finances and strategy (for example in Fall 2016) in open meetings. The Fairfax County Republican Committee meeting I attended last night had full financial information packets available on the tables for anyone attending, and it was discussed in the open.
The final report from the Communications and Best Practices committee will be this Saturday. I expect no recommended changes to the Party Plan and some recommendations as to how SCC is to conduct business, but with no mechanism to bind SCC.
You probably aren’t aware, but when you have a conflict within a Unit or District Committee there is a convoluted appeals process you must follow to obtain redress. Eventually, if done correctly, you get before the State Central Committee where members have little time to do research, must research each appeal on its own if interested, and there is usually 30 minutes or less discussion. It isn’t fair to the Appellants, the Respondents or, quite frankly, members of SCC. Most of these appeals go through District Committees who do a lot of work to evaluate the appeals before they make it to the SCC.
So an Appeals Review Committee was formed in August 2016. It is my understanding they did not meet until 2017 and we will hear the first of their recommendations on Saturday. I understand this Committee will be recommending no changes to the party plan, but a series of informal processes to allow for better evaluation and presentation of appeals.
The common theme
Have you noticed the common theme? Lots of committees, nonbinding recommendations, and no changes to the party plan. The State Central Committee, as a body needs to do better if we want to be acknowledged as leaders of the party. The titles we hold do not equal leadership, but the actions we take can.
As a member of the grassroots you are represented by many different people on State Central Committee. Check here for a list of representatives, and make sure you are maintaining lines of communication with your regional or specialty representatives.